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First Rotary UN Day In Africa Held, Encourages Youth Innovators

First Rotary UN Day In Africa Held, Encourages Youth Innovators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY HUSSEIN JIVA

The day, being held in Africa for the first time and only the second time outside of New York, US, operated under the theme, ‘Youth Innovation: Crafting Solutions to Emerging Challenges.’ It brought together approximately 1,000 delegates to UNON, including Rotary leaders, members and guests from across the world.The problems we face today are not the ones we faced a century, five decades or even a decade ago… And we are not lacking in innovation or bright ideas that have the potential to solve the world’s problems today; the disconnect comes in implementation – taking such ideas all the way to fruition,” observed the President of Rotary International, Barry Rassin, in his address at this year’s Rotary UN Day, held at the United Nations Office in
Nairobi (UNON) on 10th November.

Speaking to the gathering at the opening plenary, the President touched on the need to involve and empower the youth in global conversations, so as to find innovative solutions to perennial problems.

“We have dreamers who haven’t yet realised they are leaders and we have leaders who have forgotten how to dream – my vision is to see these two elements come together… Together with the experience and knowledge of the older generations and the ambition and energy of the young people, we can make the impossible possible – and we need to.”

Reiterating the need to include the youth in such discussions to reengineer the future were various speakers, including the Director-General of UNON, Hanna Tetteh.

“There are 1.8 billion young people between ages of 10 and 24 in the world and they provide a great avenue for innovation… we need their participation and friendship in helping make a more peaceful, healthy and sustainable world for all… they are also critical in realising the 2030 Millennium Development Goals (MDG),” Tetteh said.

During the plenary session, six young innovators were also honoured as Rotary People of Action: Young Innovators, for their efforts to address a wide variety of challenges using innovative solutions. They included Shadrack Nyawa from Kenya’s Rotary Club of Kilifi, Paul Mushaho from Uganda’s Rotaract Club of Nakivale, Charlie Castro from Colombia’s Rotary E-Club Sogamoso, Christina Hassan from Canada’s Rotary Club of Calgary Fish Creek, Ludovic Grosjean from Australia’s Melbourne City Rotaract Club and Albert Kafka from Austria’s Rotary Club of Wien-Oper.

Also for the first time, the event featured an Innovation Fair which saw Rotary clubs, businesses and other organisations exhibit humanitarian projects and modern technologies that could help remedy the world’s challenges, including the 3D printing of prosthetic limbs as well as art initiatives.

Throughout the day, general sessions and workshops dominated the program, tackling and discussing various UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those on technological revolution and the role of young people in creating change.A special session on the environment also featured, offering concrete solutions for people of all generations to take in ensuring a clean and healthy future.

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